In the last couple of days, an unnatural incident orchestrated by the serving Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has continued to reverberate in the news regarding his reported ambition to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ambition of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to succeed the President is not really the issue but his intransigence and insistence that he won’t resign from his non partisan office as Central Bank Governor before seeking for the office of the President of Nigeria. His refusal to resign whilst still pretending to want to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari has done tragic damage to the economy of Nigeria. How do you explain that a closet politician is the chief regulator of the banks in Nigeria? Is this not a recipe to economic collapse? How does one explain that in the same CBN whereby election materials are kept, you have the Chief executive who is suspected of partisan loyalty to the ruling party? Where is the dignity and where is the honour?
These shenanigans did not end there because some clowns have stretched these jokes beyond rational comprehension. A certain amorphous group of rice farmers purportedly bought for him the N100 million Presidential nomination and expression of interest forms from the All Progressives Congress (APC). Ken Nnamani former Senate President in his analysis said that members of some of these amorphous groups purportedly purchasing the N100 million Presidential nomination and expression of interest forms are persons who are owing their rents and are broke.
And so the governor of CBN came under intensive scrutiny over his politically motivated decision even whilst he stays on as the governor of the Central Bank in which the statutory provision had obliged him to devote 100 per cent of his time doing the job of the CBN and no more. He even went as far as hiring lawyers to apply for a court injunction to stop the higher authority from removing him because he is eyeing the plumb position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even without quitting his publicly paid employment.
Whilst the to and fro of the national conversations on the negative impacts of the development with Godwin Emefiele in the CBN, the President who had been so reluctant to act decisively to restore normalcy and order in his administration suddenly issued an official statement directing politically ambitious officials in government paid appointments to resign forthwith.
Earlier, Emefiele challenged his eligibility to run for the office of Nigeria president while in office as CBN governor in court. His lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, urged the court to issue an interim order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from disqualifying him from participating in the primary election of his preferred political party.
But ruling on the ex parte application, the judge, Ahmed Mohammed, ruled that he would rather order INEC and the AGF to appear to state their side of the case instead of granting the CBN governor’s request.
The SGF Boss Mustapha, however, said all appointed public office holders, including the CBN governor, should comply with the president’s directive.
Mustapha said Nigerian ambassadors in different countries are to hand over to their deputy heads of mission or the most senior Foreign Service officer in line with established practices.
Even after receiving this clarification from the SGF, the CBN governor visited President Muhammadu Buhari and after their discussion, he strolled out and when confronted by journalist on his future in the CBN, he retorted that Nigerians who are anxious about him resigning should go and have heart attacks. Such is the condescending tendencies of most public office holders in a time of impunity and lawlessness.
However, on Friday, May 13, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the outgone ministers in a valedictory meeting and stated that he will soon replace 10 members of his cabinet who recently resigned to contest various elective positions in the 2023 general elections.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced this after the President had a valedictory meeting with nine of the ministers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the President had indicated that he would immediately fill the vacancy created by the exit of former members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He also thanked the exited ministers for complying with the directive to quit based on their decision to seek elective political offices.
President Buhari appreciated them for their services to the country, expressing confidence that giving the experience they have garnered in the services of government, they are equipped to run the states.
Those at Friday’s meeting were Abubakar Malami (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice); Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta Affairs); Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation); Ogbonnaya Onu (Science, Technology and Innovation); Pauline Tallen (Women Affairs); Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment); Timipre Sylva (State, Petroleum Resources); Uche Ogar (State, Mines and Steel Development), and Tayo Alasoadura (State, Niger Delta Affairs).
Only Emeka Nwajiuba, the former Minister of State for Education, who was the first to resign, was absent at the meeting with apologies.
It is important to note that right now Nigeria bleeds from instability, heightened insecurity, mass killings, terrorists attacks, kidnappings and collapse of the petrol distribution mechanisms, which has occasioned the ongoing fuel scarcity. The Minister of State for Petroleum performance is a colossal disaster. The Petroleum sector is in shambles. The minister of State for Education is another disaster because for over 4 months, public tertiary institutions are on strike caused by the incompetence and gross irresponsibility of the Ministers of education. Cases of domestic violence are on the rise but Pauline Tallen, as minister has not achieved much to introduce some national mechanisms for dealing with this menace.
But of all the valedictorians, the Justice Minister Abubakar Malami failed woefully to bring terrorists to trials including the sponsors of Boko Haram.
Earlier in the year, Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria urged the President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure the public prosecution of the 400 Bureau De Change operators arrested for allegedly funding the activities of Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
HURIWA said the President should learn from the United Arab Emirates, which recently named and prosecuted six Nigerians and 32 others for allegedly financing terrorism.
In March 2021, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had said the government arrested some BDC operators who were facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists. He had said they were transferring money to the sect from the United Arab Emirates.
The media had earlier reported that a former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, said that Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of current governors, senators and government officials as sponsors during interrogation but the President has demonstrated an unwillingness to go after the high-profile politicians for reasons best known to him.
The minister of Justice is not known to have initiated any major prosecution of Fulani terrorists that have been attacking farmers all over the Country. When HURIWA approached him to know why, he said the killers are not prosecuted because government has not built case files on them.
Right under the justice minister’s nose, Department of State Services operatives invaded private residences of Supreme Court Justices and after these embarrassing outings, not one of them was found wanting.
Under Malami, the residence of the just retired Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court of Nigeria was invaded but nothing incriminating was found and the fake policeman who led the invaders mentioned Malami as his boss just as Malami denied. He has also been accused of removing the then acting head of EFCC and allegedly supplanted his kinsman Bawa Abdulrasheed as substantive Chairman.
One of the most senior detectives was quoted in a leaked telephone conversations of saying that EFCC has grounded to a halt due to the interference of Malami. It was under Malami that a substantive CJN was removed by a code of conduct Tribunal headed by an appointee of the executive and who indeed had a case of N10 million alleged bribery made by a retired customs officer. Under Malami his aides were accused of selling prerogative of mercy and Presidential pardons in which case fraudsters and drug dealers allegedly paid to be granted freedom.
The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio presided over that ministry and throughout, the Niger Delta Development Commission has been crippled and the crude oil producing communities have never witnessed the kind of neglect by government ever since the NDDC was created. The agency is managed by interim management, which is strange to the statutory provision that set it up. Akpabio failed in the ministry.
As they go, they need to be told that they are apostles of infamy and they have added to the dysfunctionality of the present day Nigeria and they should indeed be spending times with the law enforcement authority to explain many things that allegedly went wrong in their beats.
They need to cover their faces in shame because as valedictorians they are woeful failures.
Onwubiko is head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and was National Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria.